What do these fountains mean?

Nairobi’s City Council is inaugurating two new fountains in the capital, while dwindling water reserves raise fears of severe cuts in supply.

The new fountain at the roundabout of Moi and Haille Selassie Avenues.

The new fountain at the roundabout of Moi and Haille Selassie Avenues.

The first of the new water fountains is at the roundabout of Moi and Haille Selassie Avenues, opposite the Railway station, and is already operational. The second fountain is at the roundabout of University Way and Muindi Mbingu Streets, near the Central Police Station. It is still under construction.

Nairobi’s leaders are yet to explain to city residents the significance of these new aesthetic works.

Previous water fountains built in the city were meant to commemorate an important person or event. Outside Parliament, near the Hotel Intercontinental is the King George memorial, built in the 1950s. At Uhuru park is the Peace, Love and Unity monument built in the 1980s. Also at Uhuru Park is another fountain that feeds the artificial lake. At Central Park is the Nyayo Monument, built in 1988 to mark the tenth anniversary in office of Kenya’s second president, Daniel arap Moi.

Most of these fountains had fallen into disrepair throughout the 1990s, until the NARC government of President Mwai Kibaki took over in 2003. Today, the monuments have been rehabilitated and are major crowd pullers. However, the City Council of Nairobi decided to add two monuments of its own in the past year.

The question on everybody’s lips is: what do these new fountains signify?

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